Weekly Workout #6
American Record holder Alan Webb and his wife Julia give us a great 5k preparation workout which focuses on shifting paces and will help you run fast on tired legs.
Warm up 1.5-2 miles easy; extend that by finishing with a faster half a mile, dropping to threshold pace the last few minutes (this will "wake up" your system so you don't feel as sluggish during your first rep).
At a track - add a dynamic warm up and drills plus 4 x 100 m strides (full recovery at about 80% top speed).
3 x mile as:
- 1200m (3 laps) - start at half marathon pace and progress to 10K pace
- 30 seconds rest
- 400m (1 lap) - run this at 3k/mile pace
- 3:00 rest or an easy lap jog between sets
Cool down an easy 2 miles; followed by the next few days as EASY mileage to ensure recovery.
The purpose of this workout is learning to run fast while you're tired. This workout assumes you have built a base of mileage and are ready for the intensity. This means you have been regularly adding "quality" in your training (to get to this point, try some hill workouts or fartlek sessions off road first, as well as regular strides in your routine before you hit up a track). This workout can be a great way to practice running different paces and give an accurate picture of what you can actually hold during a race. The key is to ensure you only get a small amount of recovery (:30 seconds) before you finish the set with the fast 400. This will develop your strength, endurance and speed - all key ingredients to distance racing! If you are one of those runners who tend to fall apart mid-race or drop off the pace, it will give your mind and body the experience of knowing it CAN continue at the goal effort. It will develop confidence that you can run fast and shift into another gear to kick while tired (ie: that last 800 of a 5K).
This is a great workout to test your abilities a couple weeks out leading into a 5K. You can add up to 3 more sets if you are aiming for a 10K (just keep the 1200 pace closer to half marathon effort and again hold back slightly on the 400s to closer to 3K effort to make it possible to complete all 6 sets).